Parenting: Helping children cope after the loss of a parent

Learning how to live with loss
Posted at 3:36 AM, Jun 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-22 08:28:49-04

"What's so special about your dad?"

"Something special about?" Joseph Gilkey asked himself. "I thought he'd never leave us."

But sometimes that happens and in ways that we do not prepare for.

"I just remember, they kept asking me 'what is died' and 'when is daddy coming home?' I had to explain it to them 100 times because they were so small," Mother, Carrie Gilkey, said. "Died means that Daddy's body isn't working and he's not coming back. Just explaining that over and over again was really hard."

Carrie's husband was killed in a crash.

For Carrie, that instant left her alone with three children. At the time, she knew her 15-year-old would need some guidance but thought her other two children were too young to remember their dad.

Learning to live with loss

"In one way it is harder because they don't have any of those memories to cling to and comfort them," Carrie said. "They can't remember him hugging them and how much he loved them. In another way, it is a little easier because they don't remember those things. They don't remember how wonderful he it seems like a status quo."

As Joseph and Eliana grew, they did remember. Those memories pieced together by little minds that did not quite understand why their dad was no longer there.

"Once he got on his motorcycle to go to work and he kissed us," Joseph said.

"My middle son, who is eight now, cried for six months nonstop after we lost my husband," Carrie said. "He's very emotional. Learning how to deal with his emotions put names to them, which is what they do every week here, it's been really positive for them and helpful for them to learn all of that "

Learning to live with loss

While much of what they do centers around expression, it's also a time to talk about their day, feelings, and eventually their dad.

"It helps me to get stuff off of my chest," Joseph explained. "If I have a problem and need to talk about it, I can get it off my chest. We're going to be talking about it."

Carrie said, without Healing House she does not know where her children would be emotionally.

Healing House's Martini Tuesday

Tini Tuesday kicks off on June 22nd with Fezzo's Mang-nificant Martini.

Healing House's Tini Tuesday kicks off with Fezzo's "Berry Mang-nificant" martini (pt 2)

With the purchase of an entree, you can get the martini for $2 and that money will go directly to Healing House.

Do not forget to cast your vote for your favorite martini; the winner will be announced on August 14th.

For more information on Healing House and Tini Tuesday you can head to

See how the "Berry Mang-nificant" martini gets done.

Healing House's Tini Tuesday kicks off with Fezzo's "Berry Mang-nificant" martini (pt 1)